It’s been about a month since the announcement of City of Heroes’ closure, and the movement to save the game has reached a critical juncture. It’s hard to maintain momentum for big movements like this over a long period of time, because we’re oh-so-easily distracted and there are all of these games and expansions coming out. Plus, it’s critical because after a month of protests and other general activist activities, we haven’t heard peep one from NCsoft that the company is wavering in its decision. Finally, we know at least some of the Paragon devs have left to join Cryptic and Star Trek Online, so even if NCsoft relented today, the studio and game wouldn’t be in the same shape it was a month ago.
One of the leaders of the movement has admitted partial defeat, saying that he can’t see a future where NCsoft agrees to restore the game/studio or at least keep it alive on maintenance mode. Instead of hoping for some sort of decision reversal, he’s hoping that the company will be open to selling CoH off. SOE? GamersFirst? Perfect World Entertainment? gPotato? Nexon? All of those leap to mind when it comes to multiple MMOs and companies willing to take on orphaned titles. I won’t pretend to have any deep insight into this, however. Nexon is in bed with NCsoft, so whether that’s an impossibility or a slight in-house reshuffling is unknown to me.
There’s always the even slighter possibility that City of Heroes gets shuttered in November and then picked up at a later date to be restarted, a la APB.
I’m wondering how much any of this movement to save City of Heroes has surprised or impacted NCsoft. It’s hard to put a human face to a corporation, especially an overseas one that coldly and dispassionately pressed the cancel button on this title. It’s certainly not been a PR boon to them, and perhaps they thought that any disgruntlement would just blow over quickly instead of sparking into a full-fledged rally the way it has. Maybe NCsoft anticipated all this and more, but made the decision and steeled itself against the backlash. Really, there’s little pressure other than giving the company bad publicity that players can do. NCsoft already wasn’t mourning the financial loss or loyalty loss of these customers, so the leverage is all on their side.
Eliot from Massively thinks that the movement needs to go further and pull out the harsh language. “There’s a certain revolutionary spirit necessary for an effective protest,” he writes. “I’m not entirely certain that we’ve got that.”
But perhaps don’t count City of Heroes’ capes out just yet. The rally was a huge success and there are two more months left. The players posted this really well-done (and I’m not just saying that because I’m in it) video recently about the movement, and I’m impressed all over the place with it: